Wednesday, 27 February 2008

CeBIT Gets Wirelessed Up

Mobile World Congress and CeBIT seem to get closer every year. It’s not just the dates but the fact that CeBIT is jumping on the MWC agenda of mobile communications and computing more ardently than ever before.

Now in its second year, CeBIT’s WIRELESSWorld is located within the Communications sector in hall 13. It is a hub for everything related to mobility, organising networking events, maximising exposure of exhibitors and organising speaker events as well as panel discussions.

Speaker events worthwhile stopping by include::

- Siemens talking about “Pervasive Connection with 802.11n”

- Dialogic talking about „Mobile Video Telephony“ or

- Mobile Complete explaining How to jumpstart mobile shopping/browsing“

The panel discussions organised by US enterprise tech magazine eWeek should also trigger some interesting discussions. Editorial director, Eric Lundquist and Senior Technology editor, Wayne Rash together with a representative from Nokia, Siemens and Mobile Complete will be talking about how to best “Capture the Potential of the Wireless Enterprise”. Let’s see what the outcome of this could be…

eWeek Panel

Location: Hall 13, Stand D34

Date: Wednesday 05.03.2008, 11:00-12:00 o'clock

Monday, 25 February 2008

Mobile World Congress - making waves

Now fully back from the whirlwind of Mobile World Congress here are just a few things I thought were particularly noteworthy.

Mobile Advertising
The show dailies were full of news, views and opinions about mobile advertising. Not surprising as mobile device technology actually comes of age as a platform for data services. This, combined with how the big brands are finding it harder to reach key customer segments via traditional media, is increasing the number of mobile advertising trials and services using delivery technologies such as SMS, MMS, Video and mobile TV that can put the brand into the hand – as the pundits say.

Estimates for the mobile advertising market coming out of the show were astounding with a claim that the market is already worth $640bn. Pie in the sky? Well, with 2.7bn mobile devices operating globally, compared to 1.5bn TVs and 1.1 bn internet connected PCs, it seems mobile advertising has a bright future and could take over from traditional forms.

Other much talked about areas included multimedia and the launch of innovative handsets from new players such as Google will continue to increase the use of voice, data and video.

Location based services
Strategic Analytics predicted that global spend on location-based services delivered over the air will reach $6bn by 2011 - which is probably why Nokia paid $8.1 bn for mapping company Navteq in the autumn. At the show, Nokia announced Maps 2.0, its latest mapping and nagivation services as well as its 'context' strategy (moving into value added services. Geotagging was another buzzword from the event (for those who don’t know, it’s when a user takes a picture and its automatically adds geographic coordinates that allows the image to be searched basdd on its location).

Protecting our children
It was great to see the industry joining forces with GSMA to form the Mobile Against Child Sexual Abuse Content. Hutchison 3G, MobileKom Austria, Orange, Telecom Italia are all participating to create significant barriers to the misuse of mobile networks and the services for child sex abuse content.

Social networking goes mobile
Facebook is on a mission to make its site universally accessible, both on mobile devices and through peoples native languages. At the show, Facebook introduced a new platform called Facebook for Mobile Operators, which aims to provide a simple, online, self-service tool so that any operator can add Facebook’s mobile services to their network using the kind of Terms of Service model common on the Internet. Though early days…it’ll be one to watch I suspect.


Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Femtocells and Rubber Stairs: Bring Em On!

Having recovered from man flu caught somehow on the Fira show grounds, I can now reflect on the whole Mobile World Congress experience.

Some inital thoughts in no order of importance whatsover.

1. MWC doesn't roll off the tongue like 3GSM. Journos, clients and prospects regularly had to correct themselves.

2. Femtocells have been annointed the great hope of the industry. One analyst who came to our pre-show party said femtocells had popped up like mushrooms in the last 12 months. But the nagging issue for me is how are the operators going to convince ordinary punters to have a 3G base station in their home. Scientific facts support femtocell makers and operators but when did rational argument stop the general public's irrational fears about mobile phone radiation?

3. One big innovation for MWC2009 should be replace those lovely stone stairs with something a little more forgiving on sore feet e.g. rubber, deep pile carpet, anything except marble, limestone or whatever else those stairs are made of between the two levels in Hall 2. Opportunities to ride on an escalator became a real pleasure for this visitor. Moving pavements. Rickshaws. Sedan Chairs. Cable Cars. Anything that makes trudging around the show ground a little less physically punishing.

4. Tell office manager to not book me into a hotel near Barcelona city cathedral. Spent nights discovering the delights of medieval clocks and their bonging mechanisms. One bong for first quarter, two bongs for second quarter, three bongs for third quarter and four bongs for forth quarter, plus a sequence of bongs for the hour. I think you get the idea of what the whole auditory experience was like....

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Mobile World Congress - possibly the hottest show in town

As Mobile World Congress (MWC) draws to a close for yet another year, it’s time to reflect.

Over the past seven years (or is it more!), I have fully expected the fever pitch to tail off but it never does. In fact it seems to get more so. My gut feeling is right and according to the organisers, there were a record breaking 40,000 visitors on the first day alone (no wonder the queues were so long!)

This must be the hottest European show in the telecoms/IT industry right now. So what creates such excitement?

The mobile industry really is coming of age especially in its convergence with the Internet. Quite simply this stuff actually works on most people’s mobile devices most of the time in most places.

Three years ago when mobile data services first appeared, I couldn’t look up the latest news, local restaurants or cinema details without the device crashing. Today my mobile is reliable and provides this information at a price that I’m prepared to pay.

So we are there. The technology works and the customer is prepared to pay for it. Hurrah!

Nonetheless, the pace to innovate, drive up revenues, transform the customer experience with new services and find new market opportunities is relentless. Nothing ever stands still in this sector as this year’s MWC revealed yet again.

This year, the buzz was around Hall 8 where the big brand giants (including Nokia, Samsung, Huawei and Ericsson)were showing off their latest wares. It was like bees round the honeypot – I know not why! One of the hottest pieces of news that Radio 5 Live reported before the start was that Google was to launch its own mobile phone. However, it didn’t make big headlines at the show itself.

Sony Ericsson wants to be number three in the hit parade and to that end unveiled a range of new products including an addition to its Walkman range. From May, customers will be able to access up to five million tracks and navigate their music from the external idle screen.

Under the tagline ‘The Ultimate Essence of Mobile,’ Samsung Electronics launched its new flagship handset. Known as ‘Soul,’ the new handset is packed with features including a 7.2Mbit/s HSDPA browser and a 5 megapixel camera. (in fact the pink Soul banners were plastered over almost every concrete surface in and around the Fira including the defunct bull ring opposite the main gates). Let’s see what happens.

Rumours abounded that the latest gadgets and gizmos were being given away on every stand and that there was a plastic mobile phone that could be rolled up,..…sounds cool!

In Halls 1 and 2, there was a different atmosphere, less frantic, less hunger for the latest sexy gadgets. But this is where you could often find the next cutting edge technologies, the next jewels in the crown. Checkout Datawind, Ortiva Wireless, Newbay Software and Nubiq (on the Irish stand), Airwide Solutions and Actimagine.

And then of course, there were all the cool companies in Hall 7 focused on multimedia and the advertising and media communities. Checkout Mobile Complete, Mobstar Media, Netbiscuits, Lemonquest, Nunet, and Cloudmark.

Perhaps best of all, fabulous hall 6, where we could all collapse at the end of the first day. The Spanish government was looking after it’s 40,000 visitors supplying us with copious amounts of free Spanish Cava and beer,tapas and live music from some great Catalan bands...a definite must on the list for next year!

So can Mobile World Congress sustain its excitement and energy for a few more years? I would have thought so.


Friday, 8 February 2008

Sangria, chorizo y todas las cosas moviles

It’s that time again and Barcelona is no doubt coming alive with the buzz and anticipation that only one event brings every year around this time: The Mobile World Congress 2008. Ahead of the mobile industry’s biggest annual event next week, news announcements are already starting to gather speed.

So why should you care? Well - Robert Redford will be attending the event.

On a more serious note, you can expect to see all kinds of interesting announcements from device manufacturers and carriers. Handset manufacturers like Nokia, Samsung, LG, Motorola and Sony Ericsson will be showcasing their latest models. It’s also rumored that a prototype running Google’s Android will be on display.

This year, like others previously, a big part of the debate is likely to focus on how to encourage users in developed countries to use their phones for more than simply making calls. Operators are increasingly eager for us to use our mobiles for Internet services, games, music downloading or watching television. Then you’ve got popular online social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook moving to the mobile and the one question on many minds will be: what will be the killer mobile social networking app?

Whilst a few of my colleagues will be burning the carpets at the show, I will be closely monitoring the announcements, tracking the success of our client Mobile Complete, who will be showcasing their DeviceAnywhere Pro application.. oh and last but not least I shall be deciding on my next mobile handset :o)

Monday, 4 February 2008

The world's most famous geek

I am new to blogging, so I had no idea what to write about. I started to do some research. I looked at other blogs, general news, checked the BBC, and flipped through some newspapers – still nothing I really wanted to comment on. Having been in PR for almost 4 years now I read, research, look at angles and brainstorm… to come up with ideas, even if it is “only” for a blog! Everything needs to be properly prepared, have the right angle and the right reference… What a geek I thought to myself. Geek! That’s it, let’s talk about geeks.

What are geeks? My own definition of a geek might be my colleague who gets more excited about a new phone being released than about the sales at Selfridges. Or it could be someone with more gadgets than books. Or whoever spends more than 12 hours a day on a computer could be a geek.

The word geek used to have quite a negative connotation, referring to peculiar or odd people. Is this still the case? Not at all anymore. Defined by Wikipedia, a geek is a person who is interested in technology, especially computing and new media or it is someone who is more devoted to something than others – and who has a great amount of knowledge in this area.

If Bill Gates buys Yahoo he may soon be named “the world’s most famous geek” according to The Guardian. So if someone calls you a geek – be proud!